A sleazy jeweller with a gambling addiction? Uncut Gem is not the usual Adam Sandler film that we are used to. In fact, you may have a hard time recognizing him with his new facial hair and lack of his usual cheesy jokes. There was not even one Drew Berrymore cameo. BUT the appearance you can expect is from former power forward Kevin Garnett. The film explores the chaos of addiction and superstitions in sports. Themes like these and Kevin Garnett existing are reasons why Uncut Gems gets a spot on our shelf.
Let’s start off by talking about gambling. It is widely debated if gambling, in general, is a sport in itself. For the sake of our shelf, we are going to assume game gambling it is. It includes knowledge on the subject, strategy and a clear win or loss situation. The one difference that was clear in this film, was the need to win may have destroyed this particular character’s life. Howard Ratner takes gambling to the extreme in this film. He gambles away almost everything he has, and when things start looking forward and he has a win, he gambles that as well instead of paying off his debts. Extremities are detrimental in many cases. In sports, just as well. In athletic sports, not taking the time to rest and heal could ruin an athlete’s future in the sport. Ratner not taking the time to step away from the game to pay off his dues may very well cost him his life.
Onto other matters! Kevin. Garnett. Now how did one of the best, retired power forwards of all time, one of the few players to win both Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year award, get into a multi-nominated award film like Uncut Gems? I guess a real winner never truly retires. Garnett does not just give a cameo but plays a full-on version of himself, and probably accomplishes one of the best acting performances done by an athlete. A fun fact, the role was originally meant for Kobe Bryant. But the film had to go on without him due to wanting to get into directing films as opposed to performing in them. We wonder how different the film would have turned out in such a different direction. But we are happy with what we got with Garnett’s performance.
A funny thing about Garnett, one thing similar between the version of himself on the movie screen and him as a real individual, he actually is a superstitious person! He stated in a recent interview by Esquire, “I’ve done it with two-dollar bills, I’ve done it with rubber bands, I’ve done it with pieces of jewelry, the Bible, believe it or not. So I was able to connect with what the whole thing stood for.” We are introduced by Garnetts’ character when he arrives in Ratner’s jewellery shop and is introduced to a gem that he immediately feels connected to. He is then convinced that he needs the gem to perform well in his next game. He goes as far as trading in his championship ring as a holding item, while he borrows the jewel temporary. Although the championship ring used in the film has been revealed to be a fake, Garnett stated in his interview with Vulture that it was a VERY similar replica. Almost identical!
If you are interested in a darker version of Adam Sandler’s acting, a cameo from The Weeknd and one of the best acting performances from an athlete in a film, you better get Uncut Gems up on your shelf IMMEDIATELY! This film explores the consequences of gambling to a level not done by many, current and mainstream films. It is definitely not for all tastes in the sense that it sparks anxiety and aggression done by a stubborn man who fails to learn the consequences of his actions. But, it is worth a look if you want to be up to date on why this film is bound to win numerous awards. For the time being, we will have it up on our shelf in case you need a reminder to check it out.